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National Polyamory Day

on Friday, 23 November 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

November 23rd is National Polyamory Day. On that day in 2011, BC’s Supreme Court ruled that Canada’s so called “anti-polygamy law” does not apply to unformalized polyamorous households – clarifying that polyamory, as it is typically practiced in Canada, is legal and not a criminal act.

Prior to November, 23, 2011, it was questionable if polyamory was legal in Canada.

If you agree that people who are polyamorous are entitled to the same rights, privileges, and governmental accommodation that others have, please circulate this image to others on your blogs, in email, and on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Thank you from the CPAA (Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association).


 18 11 23

February 28 is Metamour Day!

on Friday, 09 November 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

It’s time to add a new holiday to your calendar! February 28 will henceforth be known as Metamour Day.


This holiday is meant to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures. Metamour Day is a celebration of the unique and special relationships between metamours.


As society evolves and non-monogamy becomes more common, the traditional nuclear family structure is constantly being challenged. Metamours are often taking on important family roles such as cohabitators and parental figures.


It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the special role a metamour has in your partners’ lives and tangentially (or directly) your own life. As a non-monogamous person, it is worthwhile to celebrate that relationship in order to continue to demonstrate the supportive and beneficial impact of non-monogamy on our lives.


Please join the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in celebrating this day in February!

NCSF Thanks! – 3rd Quarter Donation Report

on Tuesday, 09 October 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Thank you to Russell J. Stambaugh, a Board Member of NCSF, for donating $4,000 to the NCSF Foundation to help support NCSF’s educational outreach with AASECT and the APA.


Thank you to Jaiya, Inc., an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $530 to the NCSF Foundation in July, $720 in August and $515 in September for a total of $1,765.


Thank you to for becoming an NCSF Coalition Partner and to the employees of for donating $750 as their 2018 fundraiser for NCSF.


NCSF Thanks James Dunyak, NCSF’s New England Advocate, for donating $200 in July, $200 in August and $200 in September for a total of $600.


NCSF thanks our Coalition Partner, Adventures in Sexuality, for raising $204 through a 50/50 raffle at COPE in July, along with another $259 raised at NCSF’s Coffee and Consent Bar at the event that was hosted by Jackie (NCSF Board Member) for a total of $463.


Thank you to the Black Knot Rope Group, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, for donating $420 in August that was raised from their Consent and Negotiation Night Raffle.


Thank you to Exodus to the Woods, an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $358 to NCSF that was raised at their annual camping event in the last week of August.


And thank you to the members of TES who donated $223 in cash donations at the table at TES Fest – your generosity is appreciated!


Thank you to FIRE (Florida Intense Rope Experience), an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $300 to the NCSF membership group in August which was raised by raffling off their last FIRE blanket at their conference.


Thank you for STL3 for donating $200 to NCSF in August as their annual Coalition Partner fundraiser.


Thank you to Long Island Leather n Roses, an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $165 as their annual Coalition Partner fundraiser that was raised by a raffle on behalf of NCSF in September.


NCSF Incident Reporting & Response – 3rd Quarter 2018 report

on Tuesday, 09 October 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Susan Wright

Director of IRR

NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response received 62 reports & requests for assistance from individuals, groups and businesses in July, August & September 2018. That is down from 76 in the 2nd Quarter, and 87 in the 1st Quarter 2018, but still a 50% higher report rate than the last two quarters of 2017.

NCSF maintains the confidentiality of those who come to us for help. However, we balance that need with the need to report the services we are providing and to provide the community with a record of where the need is the greatest.

Here is a breakdown of the cases we dealt with in the 3rd Quarter of 2018:


There were 22 requests for resources and information involving criminal legal matters – 20% less than in the 2nd Quarter: 

  • 11 of those requests came from people who reported an assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, or were requests by prosecutors who needed education about consensual BDSM practices.
  • 11 people requested resources and referrals for attorneys to assist in defending themselves against accusations of assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment and threats of outing.


19 groups needed assistance compared to 27 groups in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 7 groups needed help dealing with consent incidents or were inquiring about presenters/organizers
  • 5 people were protesting being banned by a group
  • 2 groups asked for assistance in dealing with police – 1 was falsely reported to be involved in sex trafficking and 1 was misrepresented to the police
  • 2 groups asked for assistance in doing outreach to local civic and community organizations
  • 1 group needed assistance in creating a consent policy
  • 1 group was reported for outing
  • 1 group was dealing with incorporation

Child Custody

There were 11 requests for resources and referrals for family court attorneys, up from 8 in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 7 involved BDSM (3 with FetLife photos and 1 with photos on the cloud)
  • 2 involved both BDSM and polyamorous relationships
  • 1 involved sex work
  • 1 involved CPS


8 requests, compared to 3 requests in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 2 people needed help after being outed
  • 2 people needed help with civic and community organizations
  • 2 people were banned by businesses – one by PayPal and the other by AirBnB
  • 1 employment discrimination because of BDSM and poly against a Federal employee
  • 1 person needed help with photos that were posted without permission


2 people needed professional referrals – for a therapist and an attorney.

Guest Blog: What Therapists Need to Know About Consensual Non-monogamy

on Thursday, 27 September 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.

Too many clients who are in consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationships have to educate their therapists. Too many of them discontinue therapy because their therapist judged them, didn’t know enough about CNM to be helpful, or worse, makes actively stigmatizing comments such as “polyamory isn’t stable,” “women can’t do non-monogamy,” or “we can’t accept you to our therapy group as you’re non-monogamous — you wouldn’t fit in.” These are real quotes from a study about the experiences of CNM clients in therapy a couple of colleagues and I recently had accepted for publication in Journal for Clinical and Consulting Psychology.

We believe our results clearly highlight how we need to start taking the mental health needs of the CNM community seriously. For context, around 4–5% of people in the United States report that they are in CNM relationships, a comparable number to how many people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. More than one in five adults have also tried CNM at some point, which is not far off from how many people own a cat. We also know that interest and awareness of CNM, especially open relationships and polyamory, is on the rise, despite evidence of blatant stigma directed toward this population.

It is still rare, however, for mental and medical health professionals to receive training on how to effectively support people who are engaging in or exploring consensual non-monogamy. Given what we know about minority stress causing additional mental health burdens, I am concerned about the lack of support this community is receiving.

As co-chair of the American Psychological Association’s Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force, I’m calling for my colleagues to thoughtfully examine our assumptions around monogamy, pursue and promote education about relationship diversity, and approach this issue with the same level of respect and care that we do with other marginalized communities.

Results, Implications, and Calls to Action

In our study, Drs. John Sakaluk, Amy Moors, and I asked 249 people engaged in CNM about their experiences in therapy, making it the largest study to date on this topic. Significantly, the study was accepted at a top-tier, mainstream clinical journal, signaling that the field of psychology is starting to recognize the importance of addressing relationship diversity.

Monogamy is privileged. It is the unquestioned status quo, prompting many therapists to assume by default that their clients are monogamous, or even, for some, that their clients should be. The publication of this paper means that mainstream psychologists may read about and subsequently treat the needs of the consensual non-monogamy community with an elevated level of respect. The article also calls on mental health researchers and providers to examine our biases and take a nonjudgemental posture toward clients engaged in consensual non-monogamy — just as we would with LGBTQ clients.

We asked participants in structured and open formats what their therapist did (or did not do) that they found to be helpful and unhelpful, allowing us to generate broad and specific practice recommendations and calls to action.

Educating Therapists

One of the most prominent themes in our data was the importance of educating therapists about CNM. For example, our participants rated therapists as being more helpful when their therapists: (1) educated themselves about CNM issues; (2) held affirming, nonjudgmental attitudes toward CNM; (3) helped them feel good about being CNM; and (4) were open to discussing issues related to a client’s relationship structure. By contrast, CNM clients rated therapists as less helpful and were more likely to prematurely discontinue therapy when their therapist: (1) lacked or refused to gather information about CNM, (2) held judgmental, (3) pathologizing, and/or (4) dismissive attitudes toward CNM.

One-fifth of our participants also reported that their therapist lacked the basic knowledge of consensual non-monogamy issues necessary to be an effective therapist, and/or had to be constantly educated about CNM issues.

That is not to say all therapists were unaware of CNM. One-third of therapists in our study were described by CNM clients as quite knowledgeable of CNM communities and resources. We also asked in an open format what our participants’ therapists did that they found particularly unhelpful. One in five of those responding mentioned their therapist lacking or refusing to gather info about CNM.

It is important to note that our results may be inflated positively as nearly half of our participants reported intentionally seeking a therapist who was affirming toward CNM. Results were generally worse among those who did not search for a CNM-affirming therapist.

These results in conjunction with the size and stigma directed toward the CNM population has led me to conclude that educating therapists needs to be addressed at the highest levels of the mental health profession. It is time to include CNM in therapist training and continuing education programs, and I am calling on my colleagues to join me in advocating for this change.

Removing Barriers to Treatment

Being able to find a therapist who is educated and affirming of CNM is also a critical issue. CNM therapy clients who screened for a CNM-affirming therapist reported better treatment outcomes. They experienced more “exemplary” and fewer “inappropriate” therapy practices by their therapists, and they rated their therapists as being more helpful than those who did not search for a CNM-affirming therapist.

I am also requesting my colleagues advocate for CNM to be included as a search term on therapist locator websites (such as Psychology Today and APA Psychologist Locator) to help remove barriers to the CNM community accessing culturally competent care.

This is a step that I am pleased to announce that APA Psychologist Locator has agreed to take. We are currently in dialog with them about adding ‘Consensual Non-monogamy’ and ‘Kink/Diverse Sexualities’ as searchable categories, with the changes (hopefully) set to go live in November/December 2018. We hope Psychology Today and other therapist locators will follow suit. …

Resources & Getting Involved

One of our initiatives is to advocate for the eventual creation of practice guidelines, similar to those that were created by the American Psychological Association for working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual therapy clients as well as transgender and gender nonconforming therapy clients.

In an effort to progress toward practice guidelines, I developed empirically-informed benchmarks that can be used to assess practices at the institutional and individual levels. Dr. Michelle Vaughan also led the charge in creating informational brochures that people engaged in CNM can provide to their medical and mental health provider(s).

You can access the benchmarking tool, language for asking about relationship style on demographic forms, informational brochures, and join the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy mailing list by signing our petition to support relationship diversity in mental health, medical health, and the legal profession. Alternatively, you can receive these resources by simply joining the mailing list.

In addition to signing our petition and/or joining our mailing list, we would like to invite you apply to join our task force or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we will be posting updates. I will also be making updates on my Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin accounts.

These resources and this post can be shared freely with your network as well as your current medical and mental health providers.

Educating therapists, removing barriers to accessing treatment, asking about relationship status on demographic forms, setting benchmarks, and signing petitions will not eliminate the judgment and discrimination experienced by the CNM community — but we believe these are all important steps forward. With education and exposure we can challenge the mononormative assumptions promoting a one-size-fits all model of relating — in the same way we challenge assumptions about sexual orientation and gender diversity.

Just as monogamy is not right for everyone, neither is consensual non-monogamy. It’s not about what’s right for all, but what’s right sized for the individual.


Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., is a licensed counseling psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Co-chair of the American Psychological Association Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force. His private practice specializes in providing support to the CNM, kink, queer, and gender non-conforming communities.

Guest Blog: Sexual Behaviors in the United States and in Quebec: Looking at Sex Variation

on Wednesday, 15 August 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Elephant in the Hot Tub

by Russell J. Stambaugh

In July of last year, Indiana University School of Public Health researcher Debby Herbenick and her study team published the first replication of Ed Laumann et al’s National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) in nearly 25 years. Commissioned to provide a scientific basis for sexual health interventions in response to the AIDS crisis, the NHSLS was limited to asking questions about hetrosexuality, homosexuality, and those behaviors most instrumental in HIV transmission. Laumann et al, wisely focused on social networking theory in the hope that understanding who was sleeping with whom might guide policy. But the NHSLS did not inquire broadly about sexual variation. It barely made it through the Congressional appropriation process over the politics of using public money to pay researchers to ask citizens questions about their sexual behavior. Kink was simply too outrè to include and retain hope of funding.

Despite the fact that Karl Marx first used survey methods to forecast London election results in the 1840s, and the US had been regularly using surveys for a variety of purposes since the 1940’s, the NHSLS was the first and only investigation of US sexual behavior using a statistically representative sample of the US population until Herbenick’s recent work. Not that Laumann’s work accomplished much politically. Following his publishing of The Social Organization of Sexuality (1994) and Sex in America (1995) based on the NHSLS dataset, fear provoked by the AIDS crisis led the Federal Government to squander over a billion dollars on ineffective abstinence-only education which relied upon none of this research team’s insights. But that study did provide the first sound statistical basis for describing who and was having sex with whom, and what kinds they were having among the various common sexual practices that comprise the modal portion of the spectrum of sexual variability. It is the single most frequently cited work in the sociology of sex since the work of Alfred Kinsey.

Herbenick has been conducting sexuality studies on representative US samples for eight years. Most of these have looked at sexual variation issues related to heterosexual and LGBT orientation, modal sex behavior, and even and sex toy use. Spurred by the dark whispers of various insurgents and her own towering scientific curiosity, Herbenick, D, Bowling, J, Fu, T, Dodge, B, Guerra-Reyes, L and Saunders, S, in PLOS One (2017) broadened the spectrum of behaviors investigated, directly replicating Laumann’s questions about conventional practices, but inquiring substantially more broadly. Herbenick’s 2015 questionnaire published therein was not a comprehensive Noah’s Ark of every conceivable variant practice, but it did cover the rudiments of homosexual practices; multiple partner behaviors; kink, sex toy and erotica use; and inquired about internet use and mobile apps. To repeat, this study provides the first inquiry ever about such an assortment of practices on a representative US sample. And it provides plenty of brand new information and basis for suggestions about how those of us interested in further research on CNM, polyamory and kink might delve next for a deeper understanding of the relationship between kink, mental health concepts, and the management of social stigma. This in turn, is valuable to therapists who might treat the problems and discontents of the sexually adventurous.

Here is a very abbreviated summary of the study results. These are lifetime percentages of the listed behaviors for men and women:

Vaginal intercourse:
Gave partner oral sex:
Received oral sex:
Insertive anal sex:
Received anal sex:
Worn sexy underwear/lingerie:
Partnered sex in a public place:
Tied up partner, or been tied up:
Playfully whipped or been whipped:
Spanked or been spanked:
Used vibrator/dildo:
Used an anal sex toy:
Sex enhancement pills/herbal supps:
Read erotic stories:
Sex guide or sex self-help book:
Used a phone app related to sex:
Looked at a sexually explicit magazine:
Sexually explicit video/‘porn’:
Sex over Facetime/Skype:
Nude or semi-nude photo of self:
Received nude or semi-nude photo:
Flirted with someone in chat/SMS:
Gone to a strip club:
Taken a class/workshop about sex:
Had a threesome:
Had group sex:
Gone to a sex party or swingers party:
Gone to a BDSM club or dungeon:

In addition to these gender differences, the Herbenick team tabulated data about age cohorts, and how many people had done the behaviors in the last month and last year. They also inquired about the subjective appeal of the above behaviors, which was in all cases broader than actual participation. Of course, behavior and meaning are highly variably associated. The research team addresses this explicitly in accounting for the large number of lower frequency sexual behaviors that are conducted by less than two percent of respondents in the last month but have much higher aggregate lifetime percentages. These data focus on behavior, and appeal, but not on other attitudes or identifications so it is fair to say that these data tell us a lot about who has had sex scenes with multiple partners simultaneously but does not tell us about polyamory or consensual nonmonogamy. Although some of the signature behaviors of BDSM are asked about directly, it is not possible to estimate the overall prevalence of the main BDSM behaviors without items addressing cross dressing or fetishism. We eagerly await the team’s later report about trans, gay, lesbian and heterosexual behavioral differences in these behaviors.

Still, much can be said about this rich data trove that comes from the brave first effort to collect systematic data on a much broader spectrum of sexual practices. The first observation is that, like Christian Joyal’s team’s research on Quebecoises, the conventional romantic behaviors remain widely the most popular. The largest proportion of respondents in both data sets find them appealing and in both data sets, appeal is broader than participation. In both data sets, a very wide bandwidth of sexual variability is common, and an even broader bandwidth is uncommon, but statistically frequent enough to be practiced by more than 5% of the population. Whatever one’s moral judgments might be, none of these behaviors were statistically aberrant. In this sense, they constitute a partial validation of Joyal’s conclusions about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’s paraphilia diagnoses, even though Herbenick did not attempt a direct replication: appeal and frequency of most behaviors do not justify calling any of these activities paraphilias except taking classes and workshops and attending BDSM clubs or dungeons if the definition of ‘paraphilia’ requires they be statistically anomalous.

For comparison, here's a look at Joyal and Carpentier’s lifetime frequencies on their sample of questions based on the eight paraphilias of the DSMs.

Men: 60%
Women: 35%
Men: 06%
Women: 03%
Men: 40%
Women: 48%
Men: 34%
Women: 31%
Men: 09%
Women: 05%
Men: 19%
Women: 28%
Men: 07%
Women: 06%
Sex with a child
Men: 01%
Women: 00%

Joyal and Carpentier’s questions do not line up well with Herbenick’s. For example, the psychiatric definition of voyeurism as being aroused by viewing someone non-consensually is very different from viewing porn or receiving a sexy pic from a willing partner. Herbenick did not report questions that assessed frotteurism or cross dressing at all. Additionally, cross dressing means very different things in Gay female impersonation, heterosexually identified cross dressing, fetishistic cross dressing and humiliation play, ‘shemale’ porn, and transgender sexualities where it is not technically cross dressing at all because clothing is fully appropriate to one’s (non-traditional) gender. Sadism and masochism also track poorly to ’whipped or been whipped’ and ‘spanked or been spanked’ questions where power role is not specified. Joyal’s and Carpentier’s conclusion that 48% of Quebecois respondents endorse at least one ‘paraphilic’ behavior begs for a comparison statistic from Herbenick’s sample about how many Americans had done at least one of any BDSM or multiple sex partner activity lifetime, last year, or last month, although this would still exclude the nonconsensual paraphilias Joyal included in his overall figure.

It takes some reading between the lines, but in many way, these figures look similar.

That said, the participation of the most popular single dimension of BDSM: spanking, runs at least 7 times the frequency of ever having attended a BDSM club or dungeon. If we recognize that not all ‘spankos’ regard themselves as kinksters and recognize the non-overlap of those who prefer whipping, role play, bondage, and the absent major categories of crossdressing and gender play, and fetishism, it is probable that participation in BDSM communities covers about 10 percent or less of people who have ever tried kinky behaviors at least once so far in their lifetimes in Herbenick’s sample. This makes those kinksters who do participate in ‘out’ community activities seem like an elite vanguard who are at risk of being systematically different from the bulk who do not socially participate. This also suggests that considerable risks attend our efforts to extrapolate what we know about kink from studies of kink samples of convenience drawn from socially ‘out’ kinksters. I note also that in S.Wright, D. Cox and R. Stambaugh’s 2014 Consent Violations Survey, 70% of our sample of convenience stated that they were not out to family, co-workers, or people with whom they lived. I am using ‘out’ here in quotes to mean out enough to participate on-line or socially in kink, a definition shared by neither Joyal’s team nor Herbenick’s.

These results do not inquire directly about the important phenomenon of on-line sexual communities. But they do provide some basis for reassuring us against panic stemming from spreading technology use. If negative health or psychological effects attend technology use, surely the low rates of use of phone apps, for example, preclude epidemics related to their use. Men and women have strikingly similar rates of picture sharing on-line. This does not prove that they are sent and received consensually, or such behavior is satisfying, but the appeal rates of these behaviors suggest that many find the fantasy appealing in prospect despite media-documented risks and problems.

©Russell J Stambaugh, PhD, Ann Arbor, August 2018

Race Bannon Advocacy Award!

on Tuesday, 07 August 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

NCSF is proud to announce that the 2018 Race Bannon Advocacy Award will be presented to Race Bannon on Friday August 10th.

NCSF is honoring Race with our award in recognition of his support for research, community development and advocacy, and for a lifetime of tireless work and enduring contributions to the alternative sexuality communities. NCSF has named our advocacy award after Race, and will present the Race Bannon Advocacy Award to a professional every year whose work has made a significant impact on our communities and our fight against discrimination.

The pop-up award ceremony will be held at 575 Castro Street at 6:30 pm, the former site of Harvey Milk’s camera shop in San Francisco, as a way to remember the activists whose footsteps we follow.

Race Bannon has been an organizer, writer, educator, speaker and activist in the LGBT, leather/kink, polyamory and HIV/STI prevention realms since 1973. He’s authored two books, been published extensively, spoken to hundreds of audiences, created Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) the world's largest kink-friendly psychotherapist and medical referral service, was a leader of The DSM Project that led to a beneficial change in the way psychotherapy views BDSM, founded a groundbreaking alternative sexuality publishing company, been an internet radio sex talk show host, received national and local awards, appeared in numerous documentaries, and currently also writes for the Bay Area Reporter. His blog is

New NCSF Ombuds Committee Members Appointed

on Tuesday, 10 July 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

NCSF is proud to announce 5 new members of the Ombuds Committee who will serve 2-year terms. The Ombuds Committee handles complaints and concerns regarding the conduct of NCSF officers and staff, and the operations of NCSF institutions. The NCSF Ombuds Committee is an Advisory Committee that can review Coalition administration and activities, assuring ethical and effective fulfillment of NCSF’s mission and goals.

The Ombuds Committee members are:

Jill Carter, International Ms. Leather 1996, has been active in the leather lifestyle for over 40 years. Jill was the driving force behind the formation and development of the Ms. and Mr. World Leather Event. She is proud to be one of the seven original ONYX Pearls, and currently serves as president of Mid-Atlantic Onyx Pearls. She holds dual Masters in Business and Human Resource Management and is a trained and certified mediator/facilitator.

Kathy Slaughter has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, including a certificate in Women’s Studies, and a BA in Philosophy, and has a private practice in Indiana called Soaring Heart Counseling.

Rik Newton-Treadway (Hooker) is the founder of Mid-Atlantic Leather Women & Mid-Atlantic Leather Women Bootblack Contests. He is currently the producer for Baltimore King & Queen of Pride and The Lady Lisa Drag Stage @ Baltimore's Pride in The Park.

Michelle Wilson is a financial adviser at Athens Impact Socially Responsible Investments and presents on Financial Planning for Blended Families for polyamory folks and the BDSM community.

Bob Hannaford is the co-owner of Couples Cruise and Naughty Events, which produces Naughty in N’awlins. He helped found the Annual Sexual Freedom Parade in New Orleans to celebrate pride in all sexual freedom, orientations and expression. He is a former NCSF Board Member and has been involved in sexual freedom advocacy for over 20 years.


NCSF thanks our Ombuds Committee for serving our constituents!

If you’d like to reach the Ombuds Committee, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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